Home Run

MH3 —  March 1, 2012

I often wonder what people are thinking when we get in front of them to make a new business pitch.

We had a couple going on last week. Big ones. Agency game-changers in fact.

Each is with blue chip companies. Good-sized budgets. Great brands. Plus a history of doing interesting experiential and event work. Which makes me both excited and nervous.

Often people ask me to provide them examples of our best pitch ever. Hard to say. Perhaps because the process is like speed dating meets job interviewing.

The dating part comes from the RFP. Corporations send out a request for proposal – which in many ways resembles an online dating profile – for us to complete.

Are we smart? How does our work look? Looks count you know. Do we have relevant work experience? Good references? Like any resume, do you put down bad references?

After working through the paperwork and praying that all 90 pages of our submission get read, we submit the requested data. Every time we do one of these, I make a big long-winded speech about brevity and how this has to be the pitch where succinctness wins out. Of course as the chief windbag, I’m often the same person who insists on several last-minute inclusions of more and more material. So every pitch goes in looking like a slight to the environment.

Somewhere at the other end of my sent email sits a person who has the unenviable task of wading through all this propaganda. I can’t imagine how much time it takes to share, review and grade these entries.

Meanwhile we sit back and start speculating on our chances. I used to second guess every pitch we submitted. No longer. Probably too busy moving into the next one. Maybe I’ve matured.

Finally the good news comes, and we receive a few days notice that we get a chance at a live date/interview/presentation.

Then the hype machine kicks into overdrive. Who should attend? What should we wear? Who will say what? How many props should we bring? What will they be?

You would think we were staging the Royal wedding. Well, close. We are staging a royal experience in hopes of a wedding.

Rehearsals. Revisions. Reminders to bring the computer speakers fill the day and night before the big moment.

Then we are off. We leave so early I’m sure we have annoyed the receptionist. Let alone the agency already in the room. But we like to be on time.

At long last, it’s our chance. We set up our props. I massage my teeth with my tongue for any leftovers from breakfast. Cell phones are located and powered down.

In they come. One by one. I repeat my name so often, I’m feeling like it’s a receiving line at a wedding.

Then finally, I can smell it. The moment I’ve waited for…

…For which you’ll have to wait until next week.

2 responses to Home Run

  1. Usually what the prospective client is hoping during these presentations is that you’ll make it about their business and not yours. As much as we want to hear about your great work, we’re listening for how relevant it is to our business problems. The obvious you make the link, the more engaged we’ll be. Good luck with the pitches!

    • Thanks!

      it’s too easy to talk about yourself sometimes!

      Stay tuned for next week’s blog.